Walmart has introduced a new store design and layout that will be rolled out in the near term. The new design was mostly inspired by fierce competition from Amazon, airport layouts, and the contactless environment produced by the virus pandemic.
In a recent blog post, Janey Whiteside, the retailer's chief customer officer, wrote the new layout "spotlights products and end-to-end digital navigation that guides customers throughout their journeys."
The new design, which will be unveiled in nearly 200 of Walmart's 4,500 US stores this year, will be seen at another 800 next year, incorporates technology to produce a contactless shopping environment.
There will be a lot of notable changes for customers. The first is the aisles will be labeled by numbers and letters to help customers find products guided by the Walmart app on their smartphone. The move is to produce a habit among customers to use the app rather than Amazon's. The app will be loaded with helpful technology that will reduce instore frustration in product searches.
Other store changes include electronic information boards that will help guide shoppers to sections, very much like signage at airports.
"We were inspired by airport wayfinding systems as best-in-class examples of how to direct large groups of people," wrote Whiteside. "We developed simple yet thoughtful designs to replicate these navigation efficiencies, which will help us move customers through the store more quickly. We also optimized product layout, bringing greater visibility to key items throughout the store, including dedicated in-store sections for electronics, toys, baby products, and more."
For Fast Company, Walmart's redesign "proves browsing is dead" in stores. The new design allows customers to navigate stores more efficiently.
"We've always known customers want to get in and out of a Walmart as quickly as they can. Not in a bad way. You don't want to waste time," Whiteside told Fast Company.
At the end of the shopping experience, customers will be greeted with self-checkout kiosks and have the option to use Walmart Pay to complete their purchase. Some stores will have Walmart's Scan & Go technology.
Besides changes within the stores, Walmart is also planning last-mile deliveries with drones.